First 2019 Predictions
Nicole Perlman and Josh Singer "First Man"
Barry Jenkins "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Brad Bird "The Incredibles 2"
Steve Zaillian "The Irishman"
Steve McQueen and Gillian Flynn "Widows"
Other Contenders - Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Rob Liefield "Deadpool 2", Ryan Coogler and Joe Ryan Cole "Black Panther", Joel Edgerton "Boy Erased", Matt Bai, Jay Carson, and Jason Reitman "The Front Runner", Beau Willimon "Mary, Queen of Scots", Luke Davis "Beautiful Boy", Richard Linklater, Holly Gent Palmo, and Vincent Palmo Jr. "Where'd You Go Bernadette", J.K. Rowling "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald", Alex Garland "Annihilation" David Magee "Mary Poppins Returns", Nicole Holofcener "Can You Ever Forgive Me?", Zak Penn and Ernest Cline "Ready Player One", Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely "Avengers: Infinity War", Will Fetters, Bradley Cooper, Eric Roth, Irene Mecchi, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson "A Star is Born", Andrew Haigh "Lean on Pete", Cheo Hodari Coker, Ryan Coogler, and Sylvester Stallone "Creed II", Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan "Wildlife", Joe Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan "Solo: A Star Wars Story" Desiree Akhavan and Cecilia Frugiuele "The Miseducation of Cameron Post", Phil Johnston, Jim Reardon, and Pamela Ribon "Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2", Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse "The Aftermath", Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott "Black Klansman", Tom Edge "Judy", Taylor Sheridan "Sicario: Day of the Soldado", David Gordon Green and Danny McBride "Halloween", Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim "Crazy Rich Asians", Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
Commentary - I want to feel emboldened in this category. After Logan made the cut last year, I want to believe that one of the big guys, the comic book films or sci-fi adventures can make the cut. Just look at all the films that are potentials: Deadpool 2, Black Panther, Fantastic Beasts 2, Annihilation, Avnengers: Infinity War, Ready Player One, Solo, Mary Poppins Returns, Wreck-It Ralph 2, Halloween, and Jurassic World 2. Can any of them make the cut? Are any of them this year's Logan? It really is too soon to tell. The only limb I am going out on right now is Brad Bird for The Incredibles 2. Pixar gets into these screenplay races every couple of years, and if this film lives up to the hype it could easily take a slot. Beyond that, I am sticking with more predictable Oscar fare. Three of the most intriguing filmmakers to emerge out of the last several years are all return to the fold: Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen, and Damien Chazelle. All three are returning to the fold this year with If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, and First Man. If they are as good as their previous projects, they could be forces to reckon with across a lot of categories, including this one. For the final slot, I am saving a place for Martin Scorsese's latest, The Irishman. He has become an Oscar favorite over the last twenty years or so, and even the late-breaking Wolf of Wall Street managed to do well with Oscar voters. There are though tons of possibilities left, which makes this race exciting. This is a welcomed change from last year where it was not competitive at all. Joel Edgerton continues his work behind the camera with the adaptation of Boy Erased. The Gift proved he is a talented behind the camera, and this could be his big breakthrough. Nicole Holofcener might finally get some recognition, as her Enough Said and Please Give were criminally ignored. This time she teams with Melissa McCarthy in what looks like a fascinating dramedy that could show McCarthy's range. Jason Reitman hasn't had an Oscar it since Up in the Air, but The Front Runner about Gary Hart, with Hugh Jackman at its center is intriguing. Previous nominee Beau Willimon bring Mary, Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, Bradley Cooper's remake of A Star is Born could be a hit or a flop, Spike Lee's Black Klansman could be his most relevant film in years (although I still thought Chi-Raq was underrated), and Ryan Coogler and Taylor Sheridan are hoping their sequels to Creed and Sicario are as successful as their predecessors. One of the more intriguing possibilities, that I almost put in, is Linklater's adaptation of Where'd You Go Bernadette. At my library, this has been a massively successful novel, with a lot of movie potential. But after Everybody Loves Somebody and Last Flag Flying failed to capture awards attention, I am a bit hesitant to put it in quite yet. Finally, watch out for the Judy Garland biopic with Renee Zellweger, and the writing duo of Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan in Dano's directorial debut Wildlife looks like one to watch out for.